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Former Brazil presidents charged with running criminal organization

[JURIST] Brazil's Attorney General Rodrigo Janot [official website, in Portuguese] announced [press release, in Portuguese] Tuesday that former Brazilian presidents Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, along with other senior members of the Worker's Party, were being charged [indictment, PDF, in Portuguese] with leading a criminal organization. The organization was allegedly involved in paying bribes to politicians through inflating state contracts. In total, roughly $480 million in bribes are believed to have been paid during the 2002 to 2016 presidencies of Lula and Rousseff. Lula is accused of being an "important leader" in the criminal organization and continuing the criminal organization through influence over Rouseff after Lula left the presidency. Members of the Democratic Movement Party and Progressive Party were also named in the indictment.

The latest charges are the latest in a string of corruption charges throughout many levels of government in Brazil. Lula da Silva was previously convicted [JURIST report] in July on corruption charges and sentenced to almost 10 years in prison. The current Brazilian president, Michel Temer, was accused [JURIST report] of accepting bribes in June. Former president Dilma Rousseff was impeached for corruption [JURIST op-ed] last year amidst a time of economic turmoil. In April Brazil's Supreme Court [official website] ordered investigations [JURIST report] into eight cabinet ministers and dozen of lawmakers who are allegedly linked to the country's so-called "car wash" bribery scheme. In March, Brazil's top prosecutor asked Brazil's Supreme Court to open 83 more investigations [JURIST Report] into politicians.

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